Innvestment, or Message Board?
The Trump Organization, headed by billionaire presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, has acquired naming and display rights to the nearly completed Inn at Swarthmore.
“They made us a very attractive offer,” said Greg Brown, Swarthmore College’s vice president for finance and administration. “Mr. Trump was specifically interested in the display potential of the Inn’s unique and expansive ‘cat-slide’ roof.”
A Trump Organization spokesman said that apart from installation of a 150-foot Diamondvision display screen atop the inn, only minor changes are planned for the operation of the new hotel/restaurant/store complex, which will be renamed Trumpworld. When apprised of Swarthmore’s restrictions on sign size and location, the spokesman predicted smooth sailing, saying: “The Quakers love Donald. He’s gonna make Swarthmore great again,” but noting that Trump would sue the Planning Commission if his signage plan is delayed.
“Despite certain cultural differences, the Trump Organization and Swarthmore College represent excellence in their fields,” Greg Brown said, “We are just more modest about it.”
It is speculated by at least one political observer that Trump acquired the building for its potential as a billboard to target political messages to shoppers in Swarthmore’s “ville” and to passing Delaware County drivers lazily circling the Chester Road roundabout.
“As crazy as it sounds, the Trump campaign is targeting Swarthmore as the linchpin of its Pennsylvania strategy,” said Rick Valelly, Smith Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College. “The thinking is that Swarthmoreans are exceptionally influential, and can help deliver the decisive delegate block in the April primary to put him over the top as the party nominee. And then, by force of personality and relentless messaging, he will convert enough Democrats to win Pennsylvania in the fall. It’s going to be huge!”
Valelly may be onto something. The Swarthmorean was unsuccessful in its efforts to reach chairman Donald J. Trump, who was campaigning in Wisconsin, but in a prepared statement, Trump was quoted as saying “This is a major, major acquisition for me and the Republican Party, folks. I guarantee you that nobody can make Swarthmoreans turn red faster than I can.”